THES is reporting that Dr Bruce Charlton from Newcastle University has found that the scientific output of Oxford University has more in common with the University of Minnesota that Harvard.
The number of times Oxford researchers were cited by their peers, the number of highly cited academics at the university and the number of Nobel prizes its staff have won were all taken into account. Dr Charlton acknowledges that, "People will argue that these are crude measures, but I can't think of any better ones." Dr Charlton also said that 'Rather than being encouraged to tackle tough problems where the risk of failure is high, the best of Oxford's scientists are being pressured to undertake easier, short-term research'. Although this ethos could be linked to the RAE, as this type of research has a higher chance of receiving funding, one Oxford scientist believes that 'the cause may be less the RAE than the practices of the research councils in choosing which research to fund. They tend to fund research they feel is sure to succeed in a three-year timescale.'